Tiny, lab-grown hearts could serve as a cure for heart disease. The millimeter-sized hearts were created by a team of scientists at Abertay University in Scotland, who are testing treatments for heart hypertrophy.
The scientists, led by Professor Nikolai Zhelev, are growing the hearts from stem cells. They then chemically create the same conditions that trigger hypertrophy. This is the first time researchers have been been able to cause diseases in lab-grown hearts.
The tiny heats have biosensors that track the path of the molecules. This allows researchers to track which ones cause hypertrophic conditions. They then tailor drug treatments to the specific molecules they follow, which stops the hypertrophy before it even begins.
"The way this will work is by taking information about how the cells grow from Nikolai initially, building models based on that data and making suggestions to him about which experiments to try out next," said Professor Jim Brown, a systems biologist who has partnered Zhelev.
Brown has also conducted further research, showing how this application can be used in cancer treatments.